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Are Fans Sitting Too Close to the Game? — Sports Survey of the Day

MLB.com

One feature common to nearly all of the ballparks built in the last 20 years or so—roughly since Baltimore’s Camden Yards kick-started the surge of new stadiums in 1992—is the increased proximity of the fans to the action.

Nearer outfield fences, smaller foul territories, and less room between the rows of seats and the barrier separating them from the field certainly help bring fans closer to the game, but occasionally at some expense, such as what happened earlier this week in the Bronx.

On Monday night, during a Red Sox-Yankees matchup with playoff implications, a Red Sox fan in the outfield reached over the wall and caught a home run ball hit by Yankee catcher Russell Martin. Even though the Sox are out of contention, this is probably not what that fan wanted to do, as he helped the Yankees take a 3-0 lead.

This isn’t the first time a fan has directly interfered at a sporting event. Remember Steve Bartman in Chicago in 2003? Or Jeffrey Maier, also in the Bronx, in 1996?

And it’s not just baseball. In basketball, fans can sit practically on the court. The big incident in Detroit a few years back that led to Ron Artest’s (now Metta World Peace) running into the stands to fight a fan started because a fan was close enough to throw something at him.

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